Wednesday, March 19, 2008

PA health insurance reform

A message to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell: Making more cheap health insurance at taxpayer expense is not the answer.

Over half of the uninsured in Pennsylvania are between the ages of 24 and 35, are generally healthy and come from middle income households. They will be uninsured for less than a year, on average, and will find coverage without government help, thank you very much. If they really wanted health insurance coverage, they could find it at a price of their morning lattes at Starbucks., a leader in low cost health insurance nationwide, lists more than a dozen high quality health insurance plans priced well under $200 per month in Pennsylvania for this age group. The Kaiser Foundation, the U.S. Census reports, GAO publications and private insurance industry studies consistently show that availability and affordability are not primary obstacles to coverage in Pennsylvania.

Take a clue from the state’s CHIP program to see that increasing public funding does not result in a proportional increase in the number of people covered. The state’s needy already have adequate coverage through your welfare programs and those with chronic medical conditions need your help with managing the high out-of-pocket cost of their care, not with finding health insurance.

If you really want to increase the number of insured Pennsylvanians to satisfy your powerful health care industry backers (although we are not convinced this is even a worthwhile goal), then simply require residents to show proof of coverage of health insurance coverage in order to gain employment or qualify for any type of government program or to receive a tax refund. You would accomplish a whole lot more for a lot less public expense.

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